I got an email from Son Matt asking if I had a blank mileage log book because Wife Sarah had filled her’s up. I usually keep a couple in the bottom of my sock drawer for such an emergency. When she came by to pick it up, I expressed some degree of surprise because right after they got married, Matt tried to get her to keep car records, but she resisted.
Finally, she admitted, they bought her a new car and she gave up. “Steinhoff me,” she told Matt. She wasn’t sure if this her third or fourth book in 14 years.
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Dad rubbed off on me
I’m not sure at what age I started keeping a mileage and expense log in my car, but I know I was doing it by the time I moved to Athens, Ohio. I definitely was doing it by the time we moved to Gastonia, N.C.
Gastonia Gazette reporter Joel Groves must have been sucking air for a story in the doldrums right after the holidays because he interviewed me for a piece on driving expenses. I notice in the photo that I not only kept records like Dad, but I was beginning to emulate his hairstyle. That’s a serious comb-over starting to happen. I didn’t realize until just now that my part had slipped to just above my ear.
Sure would like those prices today
The story pointed out that I used my car for business, so I had to keep careful records for tax time. When the story was published on Jan. 9, 1972, I was driving about 30,000 miles a year, most of it chasing photos. Here are some of my expenses:
- New wiper blades and a headlight – $9.10.
- Quart of oil – 85 cents per quart (40 cents if bought by the case)
- Generator – $39.61
- Typical maintenance – oil filter, $2.95; four spark plugs, $5.40; points, $2.90; air filter, $2.85; new belt, $3.10; labor, $18.
- Four radial tires – $150
- Two snow tires and two tire rims for them (for ease in swapping tires) – $95.83 plus $32.40.
- Fuel – $998.90 (24 mpg with AC, 28 without AC)
- All told, including car payment, insurance, tag and expenses, I spent about $249.24 a month on my car.